Romeo & Bernadette

Romeo & Bernadette


  • See the stellar reviews below!

In this wild spoof of Shakespeare’s timeless tale, Romeo yes, THAT Romeo – awakens and finds himself in 1960 Brooklyn, chasing a girl he believes is his beloved Juliet. But no, it’s Bernadette, the beautiful, foul-mouthed daughter of a crime family.

“One of the great joys of Off-Broadway theatre is the discovery of new talent. There is no better example than the two young leads in the engaging musical, ROMEO & BERNADETTE (at Theatre 555). Nikita Burshteyn and Anna Kostakis are lighting up the stage in their title roles. Mark Saltzman’s devilishly clever book and lyrics (attached to melodious Italian standards) are a sheer delight. ROMEO & BERNADETTE is a fable, drawn from the Bard, providing rich humor. It has arrived in time for Spring and Summer, making it the hot musical comedy spot on West 42nd St.” – David Rothenberg on WBAI (May 17, 2022)
“A very clever concept, brilliantly executed. An utterly delightful riff on Romeo and Juliet. What Mark Saltzman has done is written really excellent, delightful, clever, funny, sweet, new English lyrics to very old Italian songs. I can’t emphasize too much how excellent these lyrics are – wonderful rhymes, no false rhymes, no missed accents; just stellar, stellar lyric writing all around.” – Michael Portantiere, Broadway Radio
“THE PERFECT COMBINATION OF LOVE AND LAUGHS! To describe Saltzman’s show as something that simply ‘works'” is a complete understatement. It’s quite exciting to see a piece of theater fully take charge of itself, and Romeo & Bernadette is truly a model citizen of Off-Broadway productions. Say “fuhgeddaboudit!” to any show you were thinking about seeing this week and allow Romeo & Bernadette to sing, dance and perhaps even throw some Italian charm into your life instead.” – Kristen Morale,
“A LAUGH-OUT-LOUD FUNNY SHOW!” – Pete Hempstead, Theatermania
“A SMART, MELODIC BREATH OF FRESH AIR! Nutty and Very Funny.”   – Oscar Moore, Talk Entertainment


Judy McLane, Carlos Lopez, Michael Notardonato, Ari Raskin, Troy Valjean Rucker, Michael Marotta, Anna Kostakis, Nikita Burshteyn, Zach Schanne, and Viet Vo in Romeo & Bernadette at AMAS Musical Theatre, 2020, directed by Justin Ross Cohen, at A.R.T./New York Theatres. (© Russ Rowland)

You just thought he was dead! Romeo, that is. No, he didn’t die when he drank that poison at the end of Romeo and Juliet. Because it wasn’t poison at all; just a sleeping potion that put him out for a few centuries. And when Romeo awakens, he finds himself in 1960 Brooklyn, chasing a girl he believes is his beloved Juliet. But no, it’s not Juliet—it’s Bernadette, the beautiful, sassy daughter of a local mobster. Romeo finds himself aligned with the rival crime family and… poor Romeo! It seems he’s got what the therapists would call, “a pattern.” But unlike Shakespeare’s account of the tale, Romeo and Bernadette barrels along with dames, dons and dizzy comedy to a happy ending, accompanied by some of the world’s most recognizable Italian melodies, famous from movies, television and many, many pizzerias.


Book and Lyrics by MARK SALTZMAN Music Adapted, Arranged and Orchestrated by BRUCE W. COYLE

Originally produced by Coconut Grove Playhouse and Paper Mill Playhouse, The State Theatre of New Jersey

3 female and 6 male featured roles

ROMEO (21-30; tenor, strong high A, falsetto or strong B): the Shakespearean character himself! Dashing, passionate, courtly, irresistibly handsome, swashbuckling, innocent, in pursuit of Bernadette. (“A World Away”)

BERNADETTE PENZA (21-25; strong singer, New York street accent, good comic skills. High Belt with strong mix. Strong belt to E, the money note at the end of her solo, “One Tender Word.”): Mafia Princess. Sexy, tough, vulgar, funny, spoiled, temperamental, with more tenderness in her heart than she realizes.

TITO TITONE (21-30; tenor, strong high B-flat): a studly thug, and Bernadette’s cold, domineering fiancee. Good singer, good comedian. New York street accent..

DINO DEL CANTO/BROOKLYN GUY (21-30; lyric baritone. Basically to F with a couple of growled jazz high A-flats at the end of his solo “Boom! In Love”): slick, smug, charming young mob upstart, streety and sexy. Romeo’s friend in New York.

DONNA DUBACEK / BROOKLYN GIRL (21-25; belt and mix, belt to C above middle C): Bernadette’s friend and maid of honor. Tough talking, blunt, pretty, earthy, with a superior attitude.

SAL PENZA (40-55; baritone to F, with optional A in unison with Tito in “Non La Famiglia”): Bernadette’s father. Funny, lovable, a down-to-earth, up-from-the-streets Tony Soprano style mob chief.

CAMILLE PENZA (40-50; mezzo, to C above middle C but with an operatic voice to high G): Bernadette’s mother. A stylish Brooklyn mob wife with high class aspirations and affectations. Good singer, good comedian.

CHARACTER MAN (30-45; lyric baritone): strong singer and an exceptional character comedian to play both male and female characters. He plays: ENZO ALIRIA: a self-loving Pavarotti-style opera singer, sings to high F. LOUIE: a nervous airport immigration agent, to G. ARDEN THE FLORIST: flamboyant and warm-hearted to G. FATHER KENEELY: well-meaning Irish priest to F-sharp. VIOLA DUKE: a cruel tyrant of a dance instructor. Non-singing. ROZ: a gravelly-voiced dressmaker. Non-singing.

(Another option is to have these roles played by ensemble/chorus members “LIPS” (35-50; character baritone to F-sharp): gruff, all-business, (but surprisingly heartfelt) tough-guy bodyguard. New York accent.

DON DEL CANTO/AIRPORT SUPERVISOR (baritone to high G): Don Del Canto is Dino’s elegant, aristocratic old country mob father. Refined Italian accent.

6 Musicians:

Keyboard 1: Piano/Conductor (Synthesizer)

Keyboard 2 (Synthesizer)

Reed (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute)

Guitar (Acoustic with pick-up/Hollow Body Jazz Electric Guitar)

Mandolin with pick-up

Bass (Acoustic Upright Bass, Electric Jazz Bass)